On a hot October evening I stood on the front walk of Greene and Greene’s Gamble House in Pasadena and watched a puppet crane poke his beak through the center of what can only be described as an Arts and Crafts vortex. A nearly 30-foot-wide sculpture hung from the street façade, patterned in a hallucinogenic, Morris-style rose motif. The crane and rose are, of course, the Gamble family crest. Its author, artist Patrick Ballard, calls it The Swirling Mess Below the Sleeping Porch Soon Solidified into a Crest of Phantasmagoric Weight that Creaks Between the Doors, the Floors, and a Form that Could Never Be a House Again. Read More …
Chalk it up to the rise of social media in the late 2000s or to the collective actions instigated by the Occupy Movement, but social practice has emerged (or rather, re-emerged) in recent years as a dominant mode of production across multiple disciplines. Social Club explores the role of “social practice” in art, architecture, and urbanism. It features speakers whose work relies on a dialogue with the public sphere. Members of this Social Club are artists, writers, curators, and architects who use both strategies and tactics, including community collaborations, publishing, urban interventions, social media, and grassroots activism. Their work is critical and catalytic, reframing the conventions and expectations of practice.
Liz Glynn, artist
Leonardo Bravo, artist/curator, Big City Forum
Rosten Woo, writer/curator, Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)
Iker Gil, architect, MAS Context
Pedro Gadanho, Curator for Contemporary Architecture, MoMA
Richard Saxton, artist, M12
Eight-foot tall man in a perfect Malcolm X suit selling whole leopard skins and persimmons oil and cobra venom incense and a table of books by some conspiracy wrangler named Napoleon Fung gets hungry for a Jamaican meat patty wrapped in coco bread. Wrap that in a slice of pizza and cough out a chicken bone you didn’t even know was in there. Drumstick bones in an accumulating heap teeter down the subway portal. The city bus skids off Butt Flash onto Full-Time, doomed pedestrians swept up by its Soylent Green people-catcher depositing them in a jumble on the Albeit Squalor Mall escalators — going up!
The Fulton Mall in Downtown Brooklyn is a jumble of every hope and dream ever projected on the borough. Implicated in every era and every development, from the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in the 1880s to the boosterism of the postwar years, from the urban renewal and brownstone gentrification of the ’60s and ’70s to the Bloomberg-era building bubble, the eight-block-long shopping street routinely fails to live up to expectations. The gulf between the reality of the mall — today a thriving mix of retail tenants paying high rents and selling cheap goods to a diverse crowd of low- to middle-income shoppers — and the ever-frustrated vision dreamed over and over by civic leaders, businessmen and planners — that it would become a visually unified, sanitized and safe environment attractive to both high-end national chains and an equally well-heeled clientele — is the subject of Street Value: Shopping, Planning and Politics at Fulton Mall [Princeton Architectural Press, 2010]. Read More …